earlyEnd of Article: FRANKPLEDGE (Lat. francum plegium)
See also:English institution, consisting (as defined by Stubbs) of an association for mutual security whose members, according to Hallam, " were perpetual
See also:bail for each other." The
See also:custom whereby the inhabitants of a
See also:district were responsible for any
See also:crime or injury committed by one of their number is old and widespread; it prevailed in England before the Norman
See also:Conquest, and is an outcome of the earlier principle whereby this responsibility rested on kinship . Thus a
See also:law of Edgar (d . 975) says " and let every man so
See also:order that he have a both (or
See also:surety), and let the borh then bring and hold him to every
See also:justice; and if any one then do wrong and run away, let the borh bear that which he ought to bear "; and a law of Canute about 1030 says "- and that every one be brought into a
See also:hundred and in borh, and let the borh hold and lead him to every plea." About this
See also:time these
See also:societies, each having its headman, were called frithborhs, or peace-borhs, and the
See also:Normans translated the Anglo-Saxon word by
See also:frankpledge . But the
See also:history of the frankpledge proper begins not earlier than the time of the Norman Conquest . The
See also:laws, which although called the laws of
See also:Edward the
See also:Confessor were not
See also:drawn up until about 1130, contain a clause about frithborhs which decrees that in every place societies of ten men shall be formed for mutual security and reparation . And before this date
See also:William the Conqueror had ordered that " every one who wishes to be regarded as
See also:free must be in a
See also:pledge, and that the pledge must hold and bring him to justice if he commits any offence "; and the laws of
See also:Henry I. ordered every
See also:person of substance over twelve years of age to be enrolled in a
See also:frank-pledge . This association of ten, or as it often was at a later date of twelve men, was also called a tithing, or decima, and in the
See also:north of England was known as tenmanne
See also:tale . The view of frankpledge (visus franciplegii), or the
See also:duty of ascertaining that the law with regard to frankpledges was complied with, was in the hands of the sheriffs, who held an itinerant
See also:court called the "
See also:sheriff's tourn " for this and other purposes . This court was held twice a
See also:year, but in 1217 it was ordered that the view of frankpledge should only be taken once—at Michaelmas . Introduced at or before the time of Henry I., the view was regulated by the
See also:Assize of
See also:Clarendon of 1166 and by Magna Carta as reissued in 1217 . Although the former of these
See also:lays stress upon the fact that the sheriff's supervisory
See also:powers are universal many men did not attend his tourn . Some lords of manors and of hundreds held a court of their own for view of frankpledge, and in the 13th century it may be fairly said " of all the franchises, the royal rights in private hands, view of frankpledge is perhaps the commonest." At the end of the same century the court for the view of frankpledge was generally known as the court leet, and was usually a manorial court in private hands .
However, the principle of the frank-pledge was still enforced . Thus
See also:Bracton says " every male of the age of twelve years, be he free be he serf, ought to be in frankpledge," but he allows for certain exceptions . As the word frankpledge denotes, these societies were originally concerned only with freemen; but the unfree were afterwards admitted, and during the 13th century the frankpledges were composed chiefly of villains . From petitions presented to parliament in 1376 it seems that the view of frankpledge was in active operation at this time, but it soon began to fall into disuse, and its
See also:complete decay coincides with the new ideas of
See also:government introduced by the Tudors . In a formal fashion courts leet for the view of frankpledge were held in the time of the jurist
See also:Selden, and a few of these have survived until the
See also:day .
See also:Sir F . Palgrave has asserted that the view of frankpledge was unknown in that
See also:part of the
See also:country which had been included in the
See also:kingdom of Northumbria . This statement is open to question, but it is highly probable that the
See also:system was not so deeply rooted in this part of England as elsewhere . The machinery of the frankpledge was probably used by Henry II. when he introduced the
See also:jury of presentment; and commenting on this connexion F . W .
See also:Maitland says " the duty of producing one's neighbour to answer accusations (the duty of the frankpledges) could well be converted into the duty of telling tales against him." The system of frankpledge prevailed in some English boroughs . Sometimes a court for view of frankpledge, called in some places a mickleton, whereat the mayor or the bailiffs presided, was held for the whole
See also:borough; in other cases the borough was divided into wards, or into leets, each of which had its
See also:separate court .
See also:Pollock and Maitland, History of English Law (1895) ; G . Waitz, Deutsche Verfassungsgeschichte,
See also:Band i . (188o) ; and W . Stubbs, Constitutional History, vol. i . (1897) .
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